Texas Department Regroups Following Ike

Firefighters in San Leon, Texas have gone back to school -- elementary school.

It's not like they had much choice. Ike sent them.

Since the hurricane claimed their fire station less than two weeks ago, the department's volunteers have been standing by at the neighboring school.

Their fire station was claimed by Mother Nature's fury. They lost a pumper and a brush truck. Hoses, turnout gear, SCBAs and other equipment also were destroyed.

Assistant Chief Scott Lyons said the volunteer fire department also lost a rehab/Hazmat trailer and a 24 x 36 building. "We haven't found those yet. They're out there somewhere..."

They did save an engine, heavy-duty rescue and Ford Explorer. Right now, they're operating those pieces out of the elementary school, and being alerted to calls via radio.

Lyons, like others along the Gulf, never imagined Ike would be as bad as it was. "It wasn't the Category 2 that did us in, it was the storm surge. It crushed us."

The majority of the equipment including turnout gear was stored in two rail cars. The salt water poured in, destroying everything.

Only half the town has power. The other half may not be back on for a month. There's no power where the fire station is. "We can't operate out of it anyway."

Some firefighters lost their houses to Ike. "I lost the bottom of my house," Lyons said. "I'm operating out of the top right now. But, some don't have any homes at all."

Phone service was restored this week, but it's not always reliable.

Offers of help from across the country were waiting when they were activated. A department in New York is selling the company an engine for $1.

"Right now, we need just about everything."